Friday, September 6, 2013

Forever Evil #1 Review and *SPOILERS*

Oh Shit just got real!  Real Evil.

 We open up this issue with Lex Luthor, flying around Metropolis with the owner of Kord Industries. Thomas Kord?  Where the hell is Ted?  Anyway, Lex wants to buy Kord Industries but Thomas has no plans for that.  Lex gives him another offer, which includes killing Thomas, getting his son hooked on smack, getting his wife to fall in love, and then have the man she fell in love with leave her the day that her son overdoses.  Now that's some good Lex.  But all at once a blur surges throughout metropolis knocking out all electronics.  The helicopter goes down, and crashes in the side of LexCorp.  Lex crawls into an office away from the helicopter, and sees a man fly in wearing a cape.  Superman?  Oh he wishes.  Ultra Man comes in breaking into a vault and finding the one thing he came there for.  Kryptonite.  Ultra Man crushes up the rock, and then heat visions it into a vapor and inhales it.  Afterward claiming he is the strongest once again.

Throughout the issue we have a lot going on.  Grid is systematically shutting down all electronics, and communications.  Nightwing is returning Victor Zsasz to Arkham Asylum, when the power goes out in Gotham.  Sadly for him anyways.  Super Woman is at Arkham Asylum, and Nightwing decides to take her on.  Oh poor Nightwing.  The Rogues are out in the yard in Iron Heights Penitentiary, just hanging out playing a game of escape from prison, reminicing about what life was like before they had the burden of super powers.  But the conversation is interrupted when Johnny Quick busts through the gates and takes out all the guards.  At Belle Reve, Amanda Waller is trying to convince Black Manta to join Suicide Squad, but Manta aint buying.  The conversation is interrupted again by the Crime Syndicate, when DeathStorm, and Power Ring come through the ceiling.  Scare Crow is trying to convince Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, Two Face, and the Riddler to join the Secret Society.  All it takes for a yes, is a flip of a coin.

All the villains gather in Happy Harbor, where the Watch Tower has been physically pulled out of space and lies in ruins.  Okay apparently Despero did this.  Why didn't he do this earlier when he got his ass handed to him?  Anyway, all the villains meet up to meet the Crime Syndicate.  The Earth 3 baddies show up and introduce themselves, and tell everybody what their favorite color is, oh and give Black Manta Aqua Man's trident, gives Metallo Superman's cape, and Cheetah Wonder Woman's lasso.  But Monocle isn't buying the fact that the Justice League is dead, and also claims that the Crime Syndicate is the Justice League, it's all a trap.  Then Monocle had a sudden case of head melting.  Well with no more nay sayers, the Crime Syndicate brings out the main attraction, Nightwing.  beaten, and bloody Nightwing is held up in front of all the villains as Super Woman unmasks him, and tells them that he is really Richard Grayson. (Gasp!)  In the end the Crime Syndicate gives the standard "join us or die, your world is ours, blah blah blah.  You know.  But as the sun comes up, Ultra Man is hurt by the rays, and he flies off.  Lex back in Metropolis, watches as the sun rises, and begins to be eclipsed.  The earth rumbles as Ultra Man moves the moon in front of the sun.  Lex falls to his knees knowing that this is a job for Superman.  But where is he?

There is a lot going on in this book, and I'm afraid that in the future it will be hard containing all these villains in a single story without them just becoming redundant and just there for villains sake.  But at least this issue doesn't seem to have that problem.  Everything flows real nice, and leaves you wanting more.  I just hope that each issue isn't there just for a single shock factor like we had with Nightwing.  But even if that is the case, who can deny that villains are just so cool.  Geoff Johns knows how to write a great villain, and David Finch just makes them look awesome.  Well so far so good, hopefully after Villains Month, the title will continue to be strong.


Diamond Announces Top Ten Comic Books for August 2013

Diamond Comic Distributors announced the top ten comic books for August 2013, and DC has 5 of the 10, including the continued success of Superman Unchained.  Here is the chart:

1INFINITY #1$4.99JUN130572MAR
3BATMAN #23$3.99JUN130199DC
9AVENGERS #18$3.99JUN130586MAR
10ALL-NEW X-MEN #15$3.99JUN130641MAR

When the full sales figures are announced we will post them.  I am interested to see how the Justice League Dark Trinity War issue did as well as how much the Joker's Daughter first appearance helped Catwoman #23 sales (I'm sure the answer is "Too Much"!) 

Superman #23.1 Bizarro Review

How Bizarro

Superman #23.1 is the story of Bizarro, right?  It makes sense.  Bizarro is on the cover.  Bizarro's name is sprayed across the usual Superman header.  Yet, Bizarro isn't really in the issue.  Is this some trick to fool Bizarro loving fans into picking up the issue only to cry themselves to sleep in despair?  No, actually it's a pretty damn good Bizarro issue after all is said and done, even without him.

Lex Luthor hates Superman.  All brawn and no brains.  So, he decides to make his own Kryptonian-Human hybrid.  One that will be smarter and stronger than Superman with the added bonus of obeying Luthor's every whim.  With the help of a blood sample from the Man of Steel, he does just that.  Unfortunately, the experiment goes wrong and instead of creating a Superman for himself, he creates a giant "hulk" of a monster.   After an awesome battle where Lex pulls out all his big guns, he beats the monster using his greatest weapon, his intellect.  Failed experiment?  No.  Lex views it as more research towards his final goal.  The final goal being the B-0 project.  Nice.

Sholly Fisch really did a good job with this issue.  I know it's a little deceiving, but we are getting an origin of the Bizarro project.  It also makes me really excited to see how Bizarro turns out (and Lex's reaction to it) in the upcoming Forever Evil tie-in.

I also liked Jeff Johnson's art. It's a cartoony style, but it fits the mad scientist creating his monster story.  The color, however, was a little bland.  I would have liked a more vibrant palate for the issue.

Superman #23.1 was not what I expected, but ended up being very enjoyable.  The origin of the Bizarro project was a fun romp that Lex Luthor lovers will especially enjoy.  Whether hard core Bizarro fans will be pleased is another question, but I myself thought the issue was very good.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Action Comics #23.1 Review and *SPOILERS*

It's like Cyborg, and Superman had an evil love child.

Oh Villains Month, how did you know I love Cyborg Superman?  Now for all of you who have read Supergirl #23, you know that this new incarnation of Cyborg Superman isn't our beloved Hank Henshaw, but is none other than Zor-El.  Calm down I know, but this could be good too.  Also calm down if you haven't read Supergirl #23, the header says spoilers for a reason.  Plus it's important to know this for the story.  Moving on.  This issue is a originesque story, but also plays into Cyborg Superman's need to find another as perfect as himself.  You know prior to said Supergirl issue.

We see the brotherly rivalry between Jor-El, and Zor-El on the final days of Krypton.  Obviously Jor-El does his thing, but Zor-El has a plan to save all of Argo and the people who inhabit the city by using Brainiac technology.  They have a "who's a bigger asshole" debate, and go their separate ways to see who mom loved more. (or who's science is better, either or)  Well we all know who was better, but what we learn from this story is that Zor-El and the other survivors, well survived for nine months inside their city after Krypton's explosion.  In his desporation Zor-El sends a signal to Brainiac seeking his help.  When Brainiac finally arrives Zor-El is the only one left alive.  Being upset, that the inferior brother is the only survivor, Brainiac decides to make him perfect.  Brainiac removes his memories, and alters his DNA, and RNA in order for Zor-El to resemble his brother, and implant him with Cybernetics, taking away all his weakness, and leaving only perfection.

After Cyborg Superman is born, Brainiac tells him to go out unto the universe and find other beings that are suitable for perfection, and bring them back to him.  Cyborg Superman finds himself on the planet of Kampara.  Their he downloads some folk's brains, and learns all the important stuff you'd need to know.  You know?  Perfection is not on the ground.  But he learns that a higher class lives above the surface.  Cyborg Superman flies up to find some rich dick holes, and kills them all.  Eventually the planet is pretty much destroyed, and all that is left is the military, and the last chance for perfection.  Their commander.  The commander tells the rest of his fleet to shoot down his ship in order to stop the enemy.  All hands lost.  Cyborg Superman is less than pleased in the lack of perfection, in self sacrifice.

Man do I love Cyborg Superman, and the New 52 version is not letting me down.  I was really worried when I saw that the new incarnation wasn't Hank Henshaw, but as of right now, well I'm still worried but this issue was a great Villain's Month installment.  We get some post Krypton back story of Zor-El, and the machinations of a newly formed Cyborg Superman.  The artwork is great, the story was interesting, all I can really say is, check it out.

Justice League 23.1 Review

On the Darkseid

What I learned from Justice League 23.1 was that Darkseid is evil.  I know that's not a huge revelation, but it was actually nice to see it unfold.

Greg Pak does a great job with this origin story.  He shows how a measly farmer named Uxas through cunning and a black heart overthrew the Old Gods to become Darkseid.  What I liked best is that Pak shows that Darkseid is not just bad, but a pure evil intent on destroying the Universe with his brawn and brain.  He searches for worthy opponents so he can crush them.  He does this because he can.  This issue succeeds in setting up Darkseid for future issues that are sure to come.

The art team of Siqueira and Diaz do a great job here.  The Old Gods are Huge majestic beings that dwarf the world they rule over. Everything has a classic look that the subject calls for.

Justice League 23.1 is a very good issue.  While it can be debated that Darkseid's origin wasn't particularly needed, Greg Pak does a great job presenting it.  The art has a classic feel that the New Gods deserve.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Justice League Dark #23.1 The Creeper Review

Do the Creep...Ahhhh



The Creeper has gotten around the New 52.  He has appeared in Justice League International, Phantom Stranger and Katana.  I never found him interesting at all so this issue was not on the top of my must read pile.  Maybe I should have left it out of the pile completely.

Yes, this is the origin story of Jack Ryder and The Creeper.  It is also a damn mess of an issue.  Ann Nocenti has done it again. Dan Didio wrote the story, but Ann has turned it sour like only she can.  The plot jumps from Ancient Japan to present day San Francisco to the inside of the Soultaker sword.  Yes, the inside of Katana's blade.  None of it makes much sense and I really didn't care anyway.  What makes it even worse is how wordy the issue is.  Line after line of pure nonsense. 

The art does little to make it more bearable.  Seriously, Villains month is a huge event months in the making.  It is inexcusable to have three artists for one 24 page issue.  Maybe each got as bored as I was after a couple of pages and fell asleep to be replaced by the next, and so on and so on.

This issue is a mess.  Following the Trinity War event you would think that DC would want to keep what momentum Justice League Dark had gained.  Instead we get the origin story of a Villain no one cares about.  It truly is the answer to a question no one is asking.


Green Lantern #23.1 Relic Review

Origin to a Prologue

Green Lantern #23.1 serves a dual purpose.  Give the reader the origin of the new Green Lantern Villain, Relic and serve as a prologue to the upcoming "Lights Out" event.  It does a pretty good job at both.

Relic has been causing trouble in the expanded Green Lantern Universe for a couple of months.  His  hatred for Lanterns (or "Lightsmiths" as he calls them) has been hinted at.  In Green Lantern #23.1 we find out why.

Robert Venditti tells the tragic tale with only narration.  It comes across as a parable not unlike Noah's Ark or even Chicken Little for those not religiously inclined.  Relic tells the Lightsmiths of the danger of depleating the Universal Light Source and is mocked and ridiculed.  Of course, he is proven right when all is lost.  He escapes his dying Universe and finds himself in a new one, transformed and powerful.  That's when he encounters Kyle Raynor and the Templar Guardians.  He will not make the same mistakes again and decides not to reason, but to destroy these Lightsmiths in order to save this Universe.  Done and done.  Origin story and prologue all rolled up into one.

Rags Morales takes over the art for this issue.  I thought he did a really good job and loved seeing the Lightsmiths of Relic's Universe.  It isn't the expansive look that the regular Green Lantern book has shown since Billy Tan has taken over, but I think it fit this story fine.

Green Lantern 23.1 reads like a fable.  The tale of Relic, a scientist who predicted the end of the Universe but was ignored only to be proven right in the end.  The issue served as both a Origin story and a prologue to the upcoming "Light Out" cross over event.  Relic is no longer a faceless villain, but one who thinks he is doing the right thing.  As of this issue, I may agree with him.  Highly recommended.

The Flash #23.1 Gorilla Grodd Review

Trouble in Central...I mean Gorilla City

 Spoiler alert...Flash is missing, dead or a little of both.  Central City is having a ceremony to establish the peace between humans and the gorillas of Gorilla City.  The center piece is a big statue of Flash who is missing, dead or a little of both.  Gorillas and Humans living together is perfect harmony.  What could possibly go wrong?

Grodd.  King Grodd.  Speed Force King Grodd to be exact.  Yes, Grodd doesn't want to be at peace with Humans.  In fact, he wants to enslave them.  He announces that Flash is indeed dead and his speed force powers make him the rightful ruler of gorillas and humans alike.  A fight ensues and Grodd wins.  He makes an example of those who opposed him and proclaims Central City as his own new Gorilla City.  Then as he looks over all his conquered, realizes he's bored and takes off into the sky with the promise of a continuation in Forever Evil.

With all the excitement that the Flash series has generated, Brian Bucellatto has the unenviable task of writing a side story.  Yes, the story features the awesome Grodd, but a side story it still is.  It all seems like a mere setup for Grodd  to be in the Forever Evil Rogues Rebellion book advertised at the end.  It's a shame there wasn't more to it.

Chris Batista has the even more unenviable task of penciling one of the best looking books in the DC Universe.  He does a fine job, though the multiple awesome splash pages and spreads are not to be found here.

The Flash 23.1 is an decent issue that seems like a detour to another title, not a great issue itself.  Grodd is a great villain, but the issue doesn't add anything new to the mythos.  Grodd fans should enjoy this issue, but others can pass without missing anything essential.


Injustice: Gods Among Us #34 Review

Tom Taylor has done a superb job with Injustice and issue #34 is no different.  Superman has killed Green Arrow and instead of looking at himself, he blames Batman.  No matter what his Mother or both his Father's say, Superman will always hold Batman responsible for Lois' death. 
Meanwhile, Batman knows he must synthesize the super pill or everyone will die at the hands of the man of steel. 
This issue is an emotional one.  The Kent's and Jor-El beg Superman to come to his senses while Batman tries to solve the problem on his own.  Catwoman shows how much she loves Batman and he does the same in his own special way.  The big battle is on the horizon.
The story has been so good that I sometimes forget to mention the art.  Mike Miller's art is great.  Everything about this book is great.
Once again, Tom Taylor has produced an outstanding issue.  The emotional ride continues and we get to see how the feud between Superman and Batman is effecting everyone one around them.  Highly recommended.


Monday, September 2, 2013

Superman #23 Review

Superman #23 kicks off the Psi War with a little Superman and a lot of Hector Hammond and the HIVE Queen.  The later two battle it out across Metropolis while Superman becomes a mere minor character in his own book.

Mike Johnson takes over Superman, at least for now, and I think that's a good thing.  The focus on Hammond and the HIVE Queen is a great change of pace. Of course Superman is here, but the two psychic giants take center stage,  along with a mystery narrator.   This mystery narrator actually steals the show with a great voice that's both playful and dangerous.  The reveal at the end is great and the highlight of the book.  What can I say, if Mike Johnson stays on, I'll be happy.

Also impressive was Jesus Merino's art.  He really shines in the action and fight scenes throughout the book.  The only gripe I have is that his Superman looks a little young.  He makes up for it in the last page reveal...I love it.

The Psi War is on.  Superman #23 may lack a lot of Superman, but it makes up for it with great action and art.  Mike Johnson and Jesus Merino make a splash in what I hope is a continuing partnership on the Superman in the future.


Talon #11 Review

Talon #11 picks up with Calvin Rose fighting Bane on Santa Prisca.  With the help of Casy Washington's assassin friends, they are doing ok.  Meanwhile Casey is getting ripped apart by The Butcher in Gotham. 
Talon has had some problems recently.  After the end of its first main story arc it has really lacked direction.  This issue continues that downward trend.  Introducing Bane seemed promising but the execution has been weak.  Now we get  force fed Batman.  Throw in a Forever Evil twist at the end and this issue seems like a stepping stone for other books DC would rather you read.
Another thing that has been getting progressively worse is the art.  Szymon Kudranski takes over after producing some of the worst fill in art in Talon #10.  The effort here is just as bad.  I'm no artist, but I know what I like and this ain't it.  The sharp and angular style does nothing for the action and besides Bane, the characters look terrible.  I know that Guillem March's art spoiled me early on, but this book deserves better.
Talon was one of my favorite New 52 titles from the moment it was introduced.  Unfortunately,  the last few issues have not been good.  If things don't improve quick I'm afraid it will be canceled which is a real shame.  I wish I could recomend this issue, but right now I can't recommend the series in general.